Bill Gates is something of a modern-day Nostradamus – in 1999 in his book “Business @ the Speed of Thought” the richest man in the world predicted everything from mobile devices and Facebook, to IoT home devices and price-comparison websites.
I suppose his knack of predicting future trends and tech is a major factor in his $90bn+ net worth and the reason behind Microsoft’s shift to cloud and other strategic moves.
As for past predictions, Gates has done well. But what about his predictions for the future? CBR rounds up some of Bill Gates’ most amazing predictions about future technology.
Are you ready for Terminator?
1. Robots Will Take Our Jobs
As automation and robotic processes continue to make waves in business, many have voiced their fears about a Terminator-esque world run by robots. Bill Gates, it seems, thinks there is some cause to be worried, laying out a possible solution in the taxing of robots. Speaking to Quartz, the Microsoft founder said that over the next 20 years humans will be more and more displaced by automated robots, predicting that the loss to the labour force would possibly number in the millions.
You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once, Gates told Quartz.
Gates wants governments to tax companies, specifically in the way they use automated robots. This would aim to slow the spread of automation and go towards the funding of other employment.
How will mobile banking help poor people?
2. Mobile Banking Boom
Healthcare, food or education – people from poor countries without access to cash often have to make difficult choices thanks to poor banking infrastructure. However, digital banking may change this, allowing people to easily access digital accounts and store more money.
By 2030, 2 billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones,
Gates wrote in his 2015 Annual Letter.
And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.
Can the world really go 100% clean?
3. Earth Goes Green By 2030
Another prediction made in his Annual Letter, this one in 2016. According to Gates, renewable energy will power the majority of the world by 2030.
The challenge we face is big, perhaps bigger than many people imagine, but so is the opportunity.
“If the world can find a source of cheap, clean energy, it will do more than halt climate change,” Gates wrote.
It will transform the lives of millions of the poorest families.
How can Africa cut its $50 billion yearly food bill?
4. Africa Will be entirely self-sufficient
Africa currently imports around $50 billion in food every year, despite the large majority of people being farmers. However, Gates’ predicts a major change, writing in his 2015 Annual Letter:
In the next 15 years, however, innovations in farming will erase these brutal ironies.
“The world has already developed better fertilizer and crops that are more productive, nutritious, and drought- and disease-resistant; with access to these and other existing technologies, African farmers could theoretically double their yields.”
Something worse than the Black Death is coming…
5. 33 Million Wiped Out By Plague
Bill Gates has even predicted the impact of the next Black Death, saying that the biggest threat to global health is an airborne pathogen released by bioterrorists.
At a conference in Munich, Germany, Gates said that epidemiologists “”say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.”
In a figure which should scare everyone, Gates predicts that 33 million people could die in just one year – which is why the billionaire has recently ramped up efforts to develop vaccinations in work done by his charitable foundation.
One disease could become extinct by next year
6. No Polio by 2019
In another healthcare related prediction, the Microsoft founder predicted the extinction of polio. In 2016 there were only 37 new cases of Polio, giving some hope to Gates’ prediction.
“The global polio community is now finalizing a detailed plan that I believe should allow us to finish the job of polio eradication within the next six years,” he wrote in his 2013 Annual Letter.”
“The legacy of polio eradication will live beyond stopping a disease that once paralyzed over 400,000 children every year.”
Could tech hold the cure for poverty?
7. Digital Will End Poverty
In one of his more bold predictions, Bill Gates said that there would be no more poor countries by 2035. In his 2014 Annual Letter, Gates wrote:
“Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer.”
“Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution.”